100 sideways miles by andrew smith
Description: Stand-alone YA contemporary
Publishing Details: Released 09/02/2014 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
First Line: Look: I do not know where I actually came from.
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Pros & Cons
Cover Review: I absolutely love this cover. It’s simple yet relevant to the story, and if you get the hardcover edition the inside of the dust-jacket includes a really pretty poster. The cover spine and the spine underneath the jacket look super nice on your shelf. Simon and Schuster, you’re doing it right.
Before I start this review, I’d like to point out that I didn’t include the synopsis from the story as a part of this review. That’s because the synopsis provided for this book on the inside flap, Goodreads, and all websites where you can buy it are less a synopsis than it is a summary of what happens in the entire book. I mean, when you get to page 200 of a 288 page book and none of the big events mentioned in the synopsis have happened you know there’s an issue. For this reason, I would highly recommend that you don’t read the synopsis of this book before going into it if you’re planning on reading it. If you are wondering what it’s about without spoilers, basically the book follows our main character Finn who has epilepsy due to the fact that a horse fell off a bridge and landed on him and his mother, killing his mom and leaving him with strange scars on his back and epilepsy. Things happen. That’s all you need to know.
Now, I’m having a hard time reviewing this book because it honestly felt pretty similar Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, which was the last book I read. I had many of the same issues, and I also had similar things that I liked about it.
First of all, the swearing within this book was frustrating. I wasn’t too surprised to find swear words not too uncommon in this book because it is, after all, Andrew Smith. However, it really, really started taking away from the story and just got old really quickly. I just skimmed over pretty much all the scenes with Cade because his crazy and color vocabulary got old really fast. I honestly just didn’t like Cade at all. With Andrew Smith’s other book, Winger, the swearing seemed to be more part of the story and specific characters personalities. In this story, however, it was just thrown in throughout random places and was used by a multitude of different characters.
Also, I didn’t like how Finn treated Julia (his love interest). While their conversations were cute, it seemed like his personality when actually talking to Julia was completely different from his personality in his narrative. He seemed super cute and caring while having a conversation with her, but in his inner thoughts he mostly just seemed to think about how hot she was. There were some assumptions he made about her that really, really irritated me. He seemed to have many different personalities.
However, the entire writing style of this book was incredibly unique and beautiful. I absolutely loved the main character’s voice, and the flashing backwards and forwards and imagining things… it was wonderful. It served to make this book a really fast and enjoyable read because the narrative style flowed so well.
I also loved the element of the story which was how Finn measured time in miles instead of minutes. It made for some incredibly thought-provoking moments and beautiful analogies.
Lastly, I really liked that this book didn’t really have any plot at all (honestly not sarcasm). It didn’t feel like there was ever a central problem, conflict, or resolution, which may have been the reason why it was so hard to write a synopsis for it that didn’t include spoilers. The entire book felt like one big adventure where we followed quirky characters and just had a pretty good time.
I really enjoyed this book. It would have easily been a four or five star book for me if it hadn’t been for the vulgarity and profanity, and that’s really a personal preference. If you’ve enjoyed Andrew Smith’s other books, or are interested in this one and don’t mind swearing, I’d definitely give it a shot. However, if you aren’t too keen on the excess cussing, I might skip it or just get it from the library.
Thanks for reading! 🙂